Discover engaging ways to entertain clients in Yerevan.
BY JOHNNY MOTLEY
According to Armenian legend, the biblical Noah, after braving the flood waters in his ark for 150 days, found the first dry land on the peak of Mount Ararat, a mountain overlooking Yerevan. Such stories seem more plausible when you consider Yerevan, founded roughly 3,000 years ago, is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities on the planet. With impeccably hospitable locals, world-class museums and endless good food, Yerevan promises to delight visitors for pleasure, business or a mix of both. Beyond the beautiful cathedrals, fabulous dining and bustling nightlife, Yerevan is a business-friendly city through and through. Yerevan Metro makes getting around the city easy, and those in town for work will find no shortage of options for wining, dining and entertaining clients.
Traversing Yerevan, a small and compact city, proves a breeze. You can comfortably cover the historic downtown area on foot, and strolling Yerevan’s many parks, monuments and handsome streets offers one of the best ways to see the city. Built in the 1980s, Yerevan Metro is well-maintained, reliable and safe, with trains connecting nearly all the city’s important landmarks. Metro tickets cost only 100 dram (about $0.30), and trains run 6:30 a.m.–11 p.m. While ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft are not available, taxis are cheap and ubiquitous. Most taxi rides around Yerevan should not cost more than 1,000 dram (about $4). Zvartnots International Airport, Yerevan’s main airport, lies about a 35-minute taxi ride from the downtown area, with a shuttle bus from the airport to city center also available.
Armenians enthusiastically relish the pleasures of the table, and their cuisine — replete with exquisite wines and everchanging seasonal ingredients — reflects a hidden treasure of international gastronomy. The luxurious Hotel Alexander in downtown Yerevan operates a collection of excellent restaurants, ranging from white-tablecloth dining rooms to cigar lounges boasting extensive wine and cocktail lists. Gabriel’s Bar and Lounge, well-suited for power lunches with clients, exudes sophistication.
The Green Bean Cascade, a local favorite for espresso drinks, makes the ideal place to start the morning with some caffeinated fuel and a delicious breakfast. For a more casual and light-hearted evening, check out Dargett Craft Beer, a celebrated taproom offering some of Armenia’s finest brews. If you want to sample upscale Armenian cuisine and learn about the dazzling universe of Armenian wines, book dinner reservations at Wine Republic.
If you and your client are up for an adventure, take a daytrip from Yerevan into Armenia’s majestic countryside. Ararat Distillery, Armenia’s most renowned brandy producer, offers delicious and educational tours of its facilities. Situated atop a mountain on the outskirts of Yerevan, Ararat Distillery first offers visitors panoramic views of the city before treating them to sublime sips of brandy. During the tour, participants learn about the history and different styles of the fiery, honey-colored liquor. For a more sober excursion, check out Geghard Monastery, about an hour by car from Yerevan. In the fourth century Armenia became the world’s first nation to officially adopt Christianity, and centuries-old monasteries still adorn the mountainsides throughout the nation. At Geghard, monastic cells honeycomb granite cliff faces, and monks chant the liturgy in a grand cathedral carved into the heart of a mountain.
Yerevan punches above its weight for nightlife, with pub culture especially robust. For a nightcap or a round with colleagues in a cozy pub, look no farther than Beatles Pub. In addition to boasting an extensive selection of local craft beers, Beatles Pub is popular for bar games like billiards and darts. In the mood for live music? You can listen to traditional Armenian music, consisting of large ensembles playing lutes and other stringed instruments, in downtown restaurants like Yerevan Tavern. The upbeat music pairs well with a glass of good Armenian wine like Areni and perhaps a plate of ghapama, pumpkin stuffed with spiced beef and raisins — an Armenian classic. For a more intense taste of Yerevan’s nocturnal revelry, check out Omega and Stop Club, two of the city’s favorite nightclubs.
Whether work or play takes you to Armenia’s capital, Yerevan will enchant you. With millennia of history, the ancient city in the heart of the Caucasus boasts endless layers to explore. For the gourmand, Armenia’s legendary wine, brandy and hearty cuisine might alone be worth the flight. History buffs could spend a lifetime exploring the monasteries, museums and majestic cathedrals of Yerevan and its surrounding countryside. Finally, those in Armenia on business will find themselves pleased with the easy navigability of the city and its limitless options for dining out with and entertaining clients.